Five Georgia police officers indicted in relation to the 2019 death of Fernando Rodriguez.
Five Georgia police officers were indicted on murder charges relating to the 2019 death of Fernando Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, 24, had just attended the Imagine Music Festival in Hampton, Georgia, when he encountered the police officers on Sept. 20, 2019. He was naked and walking down a road when officers stopped him and stunned him over a dozen times, according to a statement from the Henry County District Attorney’s Office.
Officers knelt on Rodriguez’s arms, neck, and back in the road for nearly 10 minutes, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Rodriguez died days later at Grady Memorial Hospital, and his death was ruled a homicide by asphyxiation by a medical examiner, NBC News reported.
In a statement to Insider, Page Page, an attorney for the family, said Rodriguez was “unarmed, naked, and in need of medical attention. Instead of trying to help Fernando, these officers tortured and killed him.”
“Fernando’s family was hopeful that all of the officers involved in his death would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that is exactly what’s happening,” Page Pate told Insider.
“The family understands that it’s still difficult in Georgia to get police officers charged with crimes much less convicted of crimes. We think this indictment is a good first step, but the case is far from over,” Pate added.
A Henry County Grand jury indicted the five officers on November 19 following two days of witness testimony. Each officer was indicted on one count of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, and one count of violation of oath of office.
“The Grand Jury charged each officer with one count of violation of oath of office for violating their oaths as law enforcement officers by stretching Rodriguez out on the ground in a prone position while he was handcuffed and shackled, holding him down and applying pressure to his body,” the statement reads.
The district attorney said warrants will be issued next week for Henry County officers Robert Butera and Quinton Phillips, and Hampton police officers Mason Lewis, Marcus Stroud, and Gregory Bowlden.
According to AJC, the Rodriguez family accepted a $3 million settlement from the Hampton Police Department, and they are still pursuing charges against the Henry County Police Department.